Bechamel sauce in a pan next to ingredients
How To Make And Use The French Mother Sauces
At the heart of French cuisine lie five “mother sauces” which play a pivotal role in many delicious recipes. The sauces are hollandaise, béchamel, velouté, Espagnole, and tomato.
Hollandaise is a rich, tangy sauce often served with eggs benedict or asparagus. Made by emulsifying clarified butter and eggs, it's flavored with lemon, salt, and pepper.
Béchamel is a milk-based sauce thickened by a roux of flour and butter, flavored with onion, cloves, and nutmeg. It's commonly used in dishes like mac and cheese and lasagna.
Espagnole, or brown sauce, is a luscious blend of brown stock, brown roux, mirepoix, and tomato paste. Reduced by lengthy simmering, it’s often used as a base in other sauces.
Velouté, a velvety sauce made from light stock and white roux, enriches fish and light meats. Although it requires gradual whisking for smoothness, it's relatively easy to make.
French tomato sauce, or sauce tomat, begins with salted pork and mirepoix simmered with tomatoes and stock. Unlike its Italian counterpart, it's blended to a smooth finish.